Kovacevic: Conner will light up start, but Narduzzi’s program must set sights high


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James Conner laughs at practice. - MATT SUNDAY / DKPS

According to the script, a few minutes before 1:30 p.m. Saturday, James Conner will emerge from the riverside tunnel at Heinz Field to a loud, proud roar unlike any related to Pitt football in recent memory. His coaches and teammates will align to either side. His school band will blare their horns like never before. His family and friends will be on hand, of course, as well as the doctors who carried him through his triumphant bout with cancer.

According to the script, the ideal script, there won't be an open yellow seat or a single dry eye when the Panthers kick off their 127th season against Villanova.

It'll all be beautiful. Just beautiful.

On Monday at the Duratz Athletic Complex, I asked Pat Narduzzi if he'd allowed that vision to enter his mind. And unsurprisingly, being a football coach, he freely acknowledged it hadn't.


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